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Charles (Massachusetts, United States) (search for this): chapter 5
hy of a royal collection. There is no ornament in a house that testifies to the quality of the owner like a handsome library. Byron would seem to have been the only other poet that has enjoyed such prosperity, although Bryant, as editor of a popular newspaper, may have approached it closely; but a city house, with windows on only two sides, is not like a handsome suburban residence. Longfellow could look across the Cambridge marshes and see the sunsets reflected in the water of the Charles River. Here he lived from 1843, when he married Miss Appleton, a daughter of one of the wealthiest merchant-bankers of Boston, until his death by pneumonia in March, 1882. The situation seemed suited to him, and he always remained a true poet and devoted to the muses: Integer vitae scelerisque purus. He did not believe in a luxurious life except so far as luxury added to refinement, and everything in the way of fashionable show was very distasteful to him. His brother Samuel once said, I
Lovewell Pond (Maine, United States) (search for this): chapter 5
to have done. The account that Rev. Samuel Longfellow has given us of the youth of his brother is highly instructive, and ought to be of service to all young men who fancy they are destined by nature for a poetic career. He tells us how Henry published his first poem in the Portland Gazette, and how his boyish exultation was dashed with cold water the same evening by Judge ----, who said of it in his presence: Stiff, remarkably stiff, and all the figures are borrowed. The Fight at Lovell's Pond would not have been a remarkable poem for a youth of nineteen, but it showed very good promise for the age at which it was written. Few boys at that age can write anything that will hang together as a poem. Young Longfellow was a better poet at thirteen than his father's friend, the Judge, was a critic. His verses were by no means stiff, but on the contrary showed indications of that natural grace and facility of expression for which he became afterwards distinguished. As for the ori
. Rev. Samuel Longfellow and T. G. Appleton accompanied the party, which, with the addition of Ernest Longfellow's beautiful bride, made a strong impression wherever they were seen. In fact their tour was like a triumphal procession. Longfellow was everywhere treated with the distinction of a famous poet; and his fine appearance and dignified bearing increased the reputation which had already preceded him. His meeting with Tennyson was considered as important as the visit of the King of Prussia to Napoleon III., and much less dangerous to the peace of Europe. It was talked of from Edinburgh to Rome. Longfellow, however, hated lionizing in all its forms, and he avoided ceremonious receptions as much as possible. He enjoyed the entertainment of meeting distinguished people, but he evidently preferred to meet them in an unconventional manner, and to have them as much to himself as possible. Princes and savants called on him, but he declined every invitation that might tend to g
Florence, S. C. (South Carolina, United States) (search for this): chapter 5
o Rome. Longfellow, however, hated lionizing in all its forms, and he avoided ceremonious receptions as much as possible. He enjoyed the entertainment of meeting distinguished people, but he evidently preferred to meet them in an unconventional manner, and to have them as much to himself as possible. Princes and savants called on him, but he declined every invitation that might tend to give him publicity. His facility in the different languages was much marvelled at. While he was in Florence a delegation from the mountain towns of Tuscany waited upon him and he conversed with them in their own dialect, greatly to their surprise and satisfaction. From a number of incidents in this journey, related by Rev. Samuel Longfellow, the following has a permanent interest: When the party came to Verona in May, 1869, they found Ruskin elevated on a ladder, from which he was examining the sculpture on a monument. As soon as he heard that the Longfellow party was below, he came down
New England (United States) (search for this): chapter 5
here he remained for the next seven years. When, in 1836, Professor Ticknor retired from his position as instructor of modern languages at Harvard, his place was offered to Longfellow and accepted. This brought him into the literary centre of New England, and one of the first acquaintances he made there was Charles Sumner, who was lecturing before the Harvard Law-School. The friendship between these two great men commenced at once and only ceased at Sumner's death in 1874, when Longfellow i, which he regretted could not be obtained in America. Those who supposed that Longfellow was easily imposed upon made a great mistake. He had the reputation among his publishers of understanding business affairs better than any author in New England; but he was almost too kind-hearted. Somewhere about 1859 a photographer made an excellent picture of his daughters-indeed, it was a charming group — and the man begged Mr. Longfellow for permission to sell copies of it as it would be of grea
Swanendael (Delaware, United States) (search for this): chapter 5
to be said that there was applause as well as hisses for Sumner. Longfellow had a leonine face, but it was that of a very mild lion; one that had never learned the use of teeth and claws. Yet those who knew him felt that he could roar on occasion, if occasion required it. Once at Longfellow's own table the conversation chanced upon Goethe, and a gentleman present remarked that Goethe was in the habit of drinking three bottles of hock a day. Who said he did? inquired the poet. It is in Lewes's biography, said the gentleman. I do not believe it, replied Longfellow, unless, he added with a laugh, they were very small bottles. A few days afterwards Prof. William James remarked in regard to this incident that the story was quite incredible. In his youth Longfellow seems to have taken to guns and fishing-rods more regularly than some boys do, but pity for his small victims soon induced him to relinquish the sport. His eldest son, Charles, also took to guns very naturally, and i
France (France) (search for this): chapter 5
keep evil at a distance as well as elsewhere, though, to be sure, temptations are multiplied a thousand-fold if he is willing to enter into them. A young man's first experience in London or Paris is a dangerous sense of freedom; for all the customary restraints of his daily life have been removed. Mrs. Stowe says of her beautiful character, Eva St. Clair, that all bad influences rolled off from her like dew from a cabbage leaf, and it was the same with Longfellow throughout. He lived in France, Spain, Italy, and Germany, and then returned to Portland, the same true American as when he left there, without foreign ways or modes of thinking, and with no more than the slight aroma of a foreign air upon him. Longfellow and his whole family were natural cosmopolitans. There was nothing of the proverbial Yankee in their composition. Whittier was a Quaker by creed, but he was also much of a Yankee in style and manner. Emerson looked like a Yankee, and possessed the cool Yankee shrew
Fort Hamilton (Ohio, United States) (search for this): chapter 5
contest more acrimonious. The conservatives afterwards felt the bitterness of defeat, and it was many years before they recovered from this. A resident graduate of Harvard, who was accustomed to converse on such subjects as the metaphysics of Hamilton's quaternions, once said that Longfellow was the paragon of schoolgirls, because he wrote what they would like to so much better than they could. This was contemptible enough; but how can one expect a man who discourses on the metaphysics of HaHamilton's quaternions to appreciate Longfellow's art, or any art pure and simple. Evangeline, which is perhaps the finest of Longfellow's poems, is not a favorite with youthful readers. He was greater as a man, perhaps, than as a poet. Future ages will have to determine this; but he was certainly one of the best poets of his time. Professor Hedge, one of our foremost literary critics, spoke of him as the one American poet whose verses sing themselves; and with the exception of Bryant's Rob
England in the time of Shakespeare, and in the century during which Dante lived Europe fairly swarmed with poets, many of them of high excellence. Frederick II. of professorship of modern languages on condition that he would spend two years in Europe preparing himself for the position. He had graduated fourth in his class. Dh a family. What we notice especially in the Longfellow Letters during this European sojourn is the admonition of Henry's father, that German literature was more iwas what might be expected from a man who had lived in all the countries of western Europe. He had humble and unfortunate friends whom he seemed to think as much oidered the statement very doubtful. In the summer of 1868 Longfellow went to Europe with his family to see what Henry James calls the best of it. Rev. Samuel Longf the King of Prussia to Napoleon III., and much less dangerous to the peace of Europe. It was talked of from Edinburgh to Rome. Longfellow, however, hated lioniz
Songo River (Maine, United States) (search for this): chapter 5
sts with the larger freedom of discourse which accompanies a select gathering. Many such occasions are referred to in his diary,--as if he did not wish to forget them. He was the finest host and story-teller in the country. His genial courtesy was simply another expression of that mental grace which made his reputation as a poet, and his manner of reciting an incident, otherwise trivial, would give it the same additional quality as in his verses on Springfield Arsenal and the crooked Songo River, which without Longfellow would be little or nothing. Then his fund of information was what might be expected from a man who had lived in all the countries of western Europe. He had humble and unfortunate friends whom he seemed to think as much of as though they were distinguished. He recognized fine traits of character, perhaps real greatness of character, in out-of-the-way places,--men whose chief happiness was their acquaintance with Longfellow. It was something much better than
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